I really wasn't going to "way" into this banter, but if we are to consider ourselves true Mark Twain scholars can we allow for putting to the side what WE don't/can't imagine a brilliant author like Twain to mean we they purposely consider and then make public statements that just don't make sense to our predilections? Haven't we always known THEY knew and communicated something we don't? Is it possible that for them the truth/lies in the banal and absurd, and therefore the largely ignored? Methinks there are may be many more Cheshire
smiles in their litter and perhaps we need to readdress our wrinkles!.
Perhaps a beginning point might be in the shading of Joan's home, "Domremy," where on the "edge of the village a flowery plain extended in a wide sweep of the river--the Meuse [= "hide, conceal, affording a means of escape" hum, sounds like "muse"]; from the rear edge of the village a grassy slope rose gradually, and the top [ "top sawyer: person a position of advantage or eminence"] was the great oak [see: "huckleberry oak"] forest--a forest that was deep and gloomy and dense, and full of interest for us children." The history is long of dragons that lived there, but the current one "was as long as a tree [= "corner, up a tree: at a disadvantage or in embarrassing position" bring an evasive individual to bay"], and had a body as big around as a tierce." In the vastness of this "open space . . . stood a most majestic beech-tree [see "book: beech"] . . . Now from time
immemorial all children [= "product, result"] reared in Domremy were called the Children of the Tree; and they loved that name, for it carried with it a mystic privilege not granted to any others of the children of this world." When they die "they see the soft picture of the Fairy [= "dwarf, fate" see "dwarf huckleberry"] Tree." A little later, Joan is described as sitting around the winter fire eating as she "sat on a box [see: "box huckleberry"] apart" [= "asunder," BINGO "twain: asunder"].
Finally, toward the end of her journey we are told "genius is not born with sight, but blind [= "hide, conceal, dazzle"]; and it is not itself that opens its eyes, but the subtle influences of a myriad of stimulating exterior circumstances. . . . We can understand how the possibilities of the future perfect peach [= "betray, blab, tattle"] are all lying hid in the humble [see: "uncle Tom: humble slave" and "germander: humble, tree"] bitter-almond, but we
cannot conceive of the peach springing directly from the almond without the intervening long sessions of patient cultivation and development. . . . How strange it is!--that almost invariably the artist remembers only one detail-- . . . and forgets all the rest . . . He is slave to his one ideas, and forgets to observe that the supremely great souls are never lodged in gross bodies. . . . --she is easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced."